Design is a huge resource of Milan's cultural heritage. From conception to development, whether it's furniture, high-fashion clothing items or the study of living spaces, design knows how to combine taste and functionality, vision and style. Let's explore the elements of this constantly evolving art by taking a look at the names, spaces and events hosted throughout Milan, the capital of design
Design and communication: the art of building modernity in Milan
"A person who has never been wrong", Einstein once said, "is a person who has never tried anything new". And today, in science as well as our everyday lives, there is a great desire to radically challenge what we know and believe, exploring the possibilities of creating something different and unique. A characteristic of the designer object is to make what is actually the result of skillful research and constant experimentation appear simple. Creating a product that is both sober and sophisticated is not an easy task.
Design escapes a single definition, appearing, if anything, as a form of transversal communication that involves practically every realm. A dress is design, an armchair is design, a room is design, a building is design. One could say that design is born when the method and practical use of an object are redefined. Design is more than an exploration, more than a language: design is the art of building modernity.
The history and spaces of Milan’s design
Design is a huge resource of Milan's cultural heritage. Historically synonymous with creativity and cultural richness, Milanese design is a transversal art expressed in a multitude of creative spaces and exhibition areas. More than just architectural studios or exclusive ateliers: Milan’s design develops over a dense network of co-working spaces, through workshops and ongoing collaborations.
The part of the city between Via Savona and Via Tortona is, in certain respects, the beating heart of Milan's design and the site of several studios and showrooms, which flourish with life and which are centers of experimentation.
Places such as Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Fondazione Prada, or Corso Como 10 are symbols of the many expressions of the language of design that are becoming increasingly accessible to non-experts.
If it is true that tomorrow's ingenuity is cultivated starting from the classroom, Milan’s contribution is a number of well-established institutes, such as the IED (European Institute of Design), Istituto Marangoni and NABA. These internationally renowned institutes every year attract a large number of students from all over the world and contribute to making design a symbol of Italian culture worldwide. To make this wealth of art accessible to the wider public, in 2007 Milan opened the doors of the first Italian museum of design, the Triennale Design Museum.
The cradle, the primordial space where everything happens, however, is the workshop. Which is why Milan decided to showcase one of the famous fathers of Italian design by opening the studio museum of Achille Castiglioni. In the same way, the Franco Albini Foundation bears witness to the tireless "artisan" architect’s bulk of work by collecting the archives of his studio. The history of design in the city is also testified by the historical collection of the Compasso d'Oro, the most prestigious Italian design award, located at the ADI Foundation.
Design events to experience in Milan
Design has a magnetic attraction because it is a fluid art of great impact. Constantly evolving, its aim is to change the way in which we enjoy an object or an environment, adding a touch of elegance and daringness. One of the main spaces dedicated to this world is the Design Library in Via Savona, where every Thursday, as part of the “Design Thursdays”, workshops are organized for experts in the field, with guests and topics that are always different.
An internationally renowned event hosted by Italy’s design capital is the Milan Design Week. For a week in early April, in conjunction with the "International Furniture Showroom", the city organizes a series of events and exhibitions for experts in the field and the broader public. Milan comes alive especially during the "Fuorisalone", a packed schedule of meetings, exhibitions, and initiatives revolving around creativity and design that take place in showrooms, bars, and very special locations throughout the city.
And during the Milan Design Week, another vibrant spot comes to life. The area around the Bosco Verticale and the Stecca is the site of numerous debates, presentations, and activities that together give life to the Isola Design District. The host of events scheduled aim to enhance design as a language for communication in all its forms.
Since design is a symbol of Italian culture and also of its economy, we can’t help but to mention the Milan Design market, a showcase within the Milan Design Week where emerging designers have the opportunity to present their creations, as well as an ideal space where people and businesses can come into contact to develop the ideas of tomorrow.
Attracting architects, designers and visitors from around the globe, it’s safe to say that thanks to the Design Week, Milan is truly the place to be this time of year.